Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Arizona

Arizona has a handful of driving and green-vehicle laws specific to the protection of the environment. Whether you drive an electric car, hybrid, alternative fuel vehicle or some other fuel-efficient car you must also follow Arizona’s general rules of the road.

As Arizona increases its focus on environmental matters, its laws might also shift. Keep up with the latest by also consulting your local Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center. You can also learn more on ways to save money as an eco-friendly driver with our page on green driver incentives.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Registration and Emissions Testing

Arizona requires alternative fuel vehicles to acquire and display an alternative fuel special plate in addition passing an emissions test. Read on for details.

What Qualifies as an Alternative Fuel Vehicle

Arizona defines alternative fuel vehicles as those that operate using a form of energy that is neither conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. These include vehicles that run on:

  • Electricity.
  • Solar power.
  • Liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas, hydrogen, or a blend of hydrogen with liquefied petroleum or natural gas*.

*This list is abbreviated. For full compliance info, consult Arizona Statutes 1-215.4.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle License Plates

If your vehicle runs exclusively on one of the alternative fuels listed above (and is incapable or operating on any other type of fuel), you can register it as an alternative fuels vehicle. As an an AFV, your vehicle can only display the following license plates:

  • AFV plates.
  • Personalized AFV plates.
  • Disability and personal disability plates.

These special alternative fuels plates grant you perks such as HOV lane access with a sole occupant and reduced tax rates at registration. For more, consult our page on green driver incentives and read the section below on AFV certification.

If you remove or disable the alternative fuel tank—rendering the system no longer functional—you must pay full registration fees and possibly pay back your tax credits. Get the full scoop on ADOT's AFV registration page.

Emissions Testing

The MVD requires alternative fuel vehicles to pass an emissions test if they are registered in or used to commute to the following Arizona metro areas:

However, there are a few exceptions. Fuel-efficient AFVs exempt from emissions testing include:

  • Electric vehicles.
  • Solar-powered vehicles.
  • Hydrogen-powered vehicles.
  • Gas and alternative fuel vehicles with a current model year and previous 4 model years (excluding reconstructed vehicles).
  • New alternative fuel vehicles.

For more on this perk and other ways to save money, refer to our page titled Arizona Green Driver Incentives.

AFV Certification

If your vehicle has undergone a conversion to run on a dedicated alternative fuel (and no other fuel type), obtain an alternative fuels certificate from either the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) or the &STATE_VS_AGENCY_CODE. That way you can take advantage of a reduced tax rate during Arizona vehicle registration. For more info, check out our page on AZ green driver incentives, Arizona Revised Statutes 28-5805, or call (602) 771-3981 (Phoenix Metro Area) or (520) 628-5651 (Tucson Metro Area).

Electric Vehicle Parking Spaces

Drivers of electric vehicles can park in specially designated spaces for EV fueling and parking. However, if you stop, stand, or park either of the following in these areas, you could face a civil penalty of at lest $350if you are not driving:
  • A vehicle that does not qualify as exclusively electric-powered.
  • An EV with an alternative fuel vehicle special plate or sticker (pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes 28-2416) .

Arizona Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) Restrictions

If you own or operate a neighborhood electric vehicle, heed the following restrictions and regulations:

  • Drivers may not operate a neighborhood electric vehicle at a speed faster than 25 MPH.
  • NEVs may not access highways with a posted speed limit that exceeds 35 MPH. However, they are allowed to cross the intersections of highways that bear a speed limit greater than 35 MPH.
  • A notice of operational restrictions must either be permanently attached to or painted on each NEV where the driver can clearly see it.

When you first register your NEV, you must certify (in writing) that the notice of operational restrictions is placed accordingly. For more on initial vehicle registration in Arizona, refer to our online vehicle guide.

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review